According to a tweet this morning, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is giving the company’s top brass at each brand a decade to justify their existence. Suddenly, it’s easy to picture some nervous auto executives dotted around the globe.
This isn’t the first time Tavares has stated that all Stellantis brands will be given a chance, but this occasion seems the first to publicly put a timeline on the table. The tweet comes from CNBC automotive reporter Michael Wayland.
.@Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares says he’s giving his brand execs a 10-year window to prove their worth. He says all 14 brands (Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall) are being “given a chance.”
— Michael Wayland (@MikeWayland) May 12, 2021
The merger of FCA and PSA into Stellantis created a rather large entity. Across 14 different brands, the conglomerate’s automotive offerings run the gamut: Old to new, flop to successful, European to American. At the end of this 10-year timeline, surely there won’t still be 14 brands in the company’s portfolio. Let’s do some consolidation consideration and critical thinking:
There’s more than one ailing brand in this group. Alfa Romeo is a money pit presently; their products continually fail to revive the brand that’s been ailing since circa 1990. Nor can the brand seem to catch any footing in North America. Lancia is almost a non-entity, with its only offering a decade-old Ypsilon (reworked Fiat 500). Fiat and its easy money Abarth versions are necessary for the European market but have not done well in North America generally. Maserati is in a slightly better position than Alfa, and with its luxury branding can reach higher in the marketplace than Alfa ever will.
Outcome: Lancia dies, Alfa and Maserati play off one another, with Alfa continually playing second fiddle to Maserati. Fiat stays the course, its new product gains French parts sharing. Fiat leaves North America.
No problem proving the worth of RAM or Jeep. Both brands are a money machine in North America and are substantial enough to make their case even when they don’t really play in other markets. Chrysler and Dodge have some work to do. Chrysler has the 300 and Pacifica, and Dodge has Charger, Challenger, and Durango. Journey and Grand Caravan are dead. Aside from Pacifica, all of these things are very aged and overdue for replacement.
Outcome: Jeep and RAM stay the course, as does Chrysler with its Pacifica. Dodge is killed, and Chrysler picks up reworked Peugeot models in a “Let’s see how this goes,” sort of fashion.
All three French brands (well, two and a half) can coexist, and Stellantis ownership means one or two will likely make a go of it (again) in the North American market. While that’s unlikely to succeed in any meaningful way, it will provide a lot of journalists exciting French car content.
Outcome: All three French brands live on, with their continual parts and platform sharing. Brief limited forays into North America are not long-lived. They may pitch Citroën more toward rugged CUV-loving Americans, and Peugeot or DS against near-premium competition like Acura.
These two are interesting. Opel and it’s UK market brand Vauxhall were formerly General Motors brands, and their current lineup utilizes GM platforms. GM used Opel to provide German-sourced Buicks that Americans didn’t buy (and the Catera before them), built at the German Opel factory (which at the end was owned by Peugeot). Said Opel factory is already building DS vehicles.
Outcome: Opel and Vauxhall become Citroën-sourced brands for the European market, after the current crop of GM-designed Opel vehicles runs to completion. Their lineups are smaller and perhaps focused on EV, so as not to overlap with Stellantis’ French brands.
And there we have it, entirely nonscientific predictions by yours truly. Care to disagree?
[Images: Stellantis, FCA, PSA, GM]